Climate change claims off base


Speakout

Rev. Carl Kline’s latest teaching on modern-era climate sins linked the “creation story,” with Adam and Eve being “expelled from paradise,” to the 2018 fiery destruction of “Paradise,” California (Brookings Register, 11-9-19).  

Contrary to his incidental citation, the word, “paradise,” appears nowhere in the creation account, or in the Book of Genesis, nor does it appear anywhere in Holy Scripture with a Garden of Eden frame of reference.  Kline has engaged in Biblical ‘terminology shifting’ to accent his man-caused global warming storyline.

Kline continued, “The planet only gets hotter and the carbon in the atmosphere more concentrated,” and “the fires raging these days” in California, Russia, Alaska and the Amazon are sure to be followed by “more devastating fires in other places” and a coming “new age of fire.”  

Kline’s Nov. 9 column ushered in a record-shattering blast of cold air and widespread snow, as a “punishing wave” of Arctic air engulfed the “eastern two-thirds of the United States” (AccuWeather, 11-11-19). New York City’s 25 degrees F broke the previous low from 1926. Several of the November 11 lows in Tennessee, Michigan, and Indiana broke record lows set in 1911. The cold surge smashed “over 400 mid-November records in the Plains, Midwest, South and East” (weather.com, 11-14-19).

During the month preceding Kline’s column, the “average contiguous U.S. temperature was 52.3°F, 1.8°F below the 20th century average,” ranking it in the “lowest third of the 125-year period of record and was the coolest October since 2009 (NOAA, National Climate Report, October 2019). 

While the NOAA’s headline-grabbing global surface temperature reports typically reinforce the warming scenario, one of the NOAA’s other highly regarded datasets, the U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN), does not.  

In January 2005, NOAA began recording temperatures within its newly constructed USCRN, which includes “114 pristinely maintained temperature stations spaced uniformly across the lower 48 states.”  These site-specific NOAA locations were “far away from urban and land-development impacts that might artificially taint temperature readings.”

The USCRN has “eliminated the need to rely on, and adjust the data from, outdated temperature stations.” The data from these 114 USCRN stations show “no warming since 2005, when the network went online. If anything, U.S. temperatures are now slightly cooler than they were 14 years ago” (realclearenergy.com, 8-19-19).

Kline’s reference to “fires raging” in California, Russia, and the Amazon ignores historical realities.  

For nearly 40 years, the number of wildfires in California has actually been declining. California wildfire data, reviewed by a USGS research ecologist, Jon Keely, reported that following a peak in 1980, “there have been fewer and fewer wildfires in California. This is true across the entire state,” according to Keeley, who is also a professor at UCLA (Orange County Register, 9-17-17).

On a larger scale, The Journal Science, September 2017, reported, “there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago.”  The global burned area has “dropped by about 25 percent over the previous 18 years” – a finding which is also “consistent with a May 2016 paper published by the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.”  

Kline’s claim about worsening Amazon fires is also erroneous. “Deforestation of the Amazon Rain Forest” has been significantly lower each of the last 10 years (2009-2019) than in any of the previous 20 years (1988-2008).  NASA Earth Observatory Images (km2 deforestation) confirm that “between 2003 and 2019, that number has dropped by roughly 25 percent” (wattsupwiththat.com, 8-20-19).

NASA satellite data also show that for the “35-year period [1982-2016] global forests have increased growth by over 2.2 million square kilometers due to increasing CO2.”

Kline’s larger fears about “certain planetary destruction” are driven by computerized climate models, which happen to utilize homogenized, and in many cases “fabricated” global surface temperature data, and highly questionable sensitivity inputs (wattsupwiththat.com, 1-21-18).  He has meanwhile rejected any consideration of a higher controlling authority over weather and climate-related forces: “Claiming that climate change is... ‘in the hands of God’… is now not only immoral but bordering on the criminal” (Register, 8-26-17).

Rev. Kline’s teaching on “devastating” global fires is riddled with inconsistencies. His faith in climate modeling is self-limiting.

The miraculous power of God, as C.S. Lewis has made clear, is “written across the whole world in letters too big for some of us to see.”  Those small letters which have been delivered into the world through divine revelation for all to see, are unambiguous on this matter.

“For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.  He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.”  -Psalm 135:5-7

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